God’s plan of redemption in the letter to the Ephesians (Part 2)
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do – Ephesians 2:8-10
Today we bring you the final part of, “God’s Plan of Redemption In The Letter To The Ephesians.”
In Ephesians 2, Paul developed his understanding of God’s salvation, and in Ephesians 3, Paul pointedly reminded readers of his personal role in spreading the good news. Paul’s ministry was a gift of grace – an example of accepting opportunities to serve God. As Paul wrapped up this part of the letter, he was compelled to pray for his readers yet again. This prayer highlights God’s power, Christ’s love, and the believers experience of God’s power.
As we experience God’s strength, we will be equipped to fulfill everything to which God calls His people. This is the theme Paul focused on in the second half of his epistle. Right thinking about God and salvation will have a practical effect on the way a believer lives today. After reminding them God had called them to “walk worthy”, Paul reviewed the matter of spiritual gifts. He then urged believers to work together for their collective good, using the analogy of a physical body growing to maturity. Paul again contrasted the behaviour of Christians and behaviour of non-Christians. Simply put, believers are to live differently. We are to be different in our moral behaviuor, our desire, our speech, our relationships, our priorities, and our very identities.
Once again, we share with you straight from the scriptures, what Paul wrote to the believers in Ephesus to confirm God’s plan for our redemption.
GOD’S MARVELLOUS PLAN FOR THE GENTILES
Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets.This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of His power. Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, Who created all things. His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory – Ephesians 3:1-13 NIV
A PRAYER FOR THE EPHESIANS
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen – Ephesians 3:14-21
God established the Church to be a dramatic demonstration of God’s marvellous wisdom and perfect plan of reconciliation, coming to expression in the uniting of two hostile, diverse groups into one body. The Church is the body of Christ, the bride of Christ, the temple of God. Christ died for the church to make it pure. The apostles and prophets form the foundation of the Church, and Christ is the chief cornerstone. The leaders of the Church must build up the church into unity, maturity and love. All of us must candidly ask ourselves: Do we express the unity that God expects of the Church?
If you have not yet confessed, Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, this is an opportunity to do so. And when you do, just surrender totally to Him and trust Him with your eternal future, for He will never leave you nor forsake you – Hebrews 13:5
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By Dr Joyce Aryee, the author